Final: Buffalo 30, Houston 21
After allowing just 8.8 points per game over the last month, the Houston Texans surrender 30 to the Bills on the road and drop to 6-6 on the season. The Buffalo offense was rolling, especially in the first half, and Tyrod Taylor looked impressive as he accounted for four touchdowns in this game (one rushing, and three passing). He also posted a passer rating of 127.2, the fifth time this season he has gone over the 100 mark.
The offensive game plan employed by Greg Roman early on was to run the ball against the Houston front to slow the pass rush and it worked. LeSean McCoy was able to spring a few runs to the outside as the Texans were beat on the edge. They were unable to contain Tyrod Taylor also, and we saw a lot of wild-cat in the first half from the Bills. The creative play-calling really kept Houston off balance and allowed for the Buffalo offensive line to control the game. The Texans’ pass rush never really got going until later on in the second half after they had a twelve minute break due to halftime. J.J. Watt was held without a sack for the first time in six games, and Romeo Crenelle’s secondary was exposed by the likes of Sammy Watkins, who had a nice game with three catches for 109 yards and a touchdown, including a pair of beautiful 53-yard catches coming off of perfect throws from Taylor.
The Houston offense was not bad either. Brian Hoyer was an effective 26/43 for 293 yards and three touchdowns as well. He did throw one pick, but that came on the final play of the game. He was forced to locate other receivers in the first half since Ronald Darby did a magnificent job at taking away DeAndre Hopkins, and find other receivers he did as the Texans had nine different players catch the ball in this game, including a reception from a lineman Kendall Lamm. Chris Polk ran with some good power and was able to bowl his way into the end zone on a touchdown reception. The Houston defense was much better in the second half, allowing only nine points. The touchdown did come in the waning moments of the game, however, when tight end Charles Clay was left wide open in the middle of the field for a 40 yard score. The secondary continues to be a weakness for the Texans. Jadeveon Clowney had a nice game with a couple of pressures and a sack, overshadowing J.J. Watt who was triple-teamed quite frequently.
One thing that was noticeable in this game after seeing what took place last week is Buffalo’s first half offense. They came out like a house on fire on the road in Kansas City in Week 12 and did it again at home against Houston. If the Bills can remain consistent for four quarters, they are a team that could become quite dangerous. They draw a desperate Philadelphia team on the road next week where their ability to run horizontally could prove to be a deal-changer. Meanwhile, the Texans will host the Patriots who seem pretty vulnerable now with many of their weapons sidelined. Both Houston and Buffalo are in the thick of things in the playoff race, although the Bills will have to earn their way in via wild card whereas the Texans best shot is by winning the AFC South.
- Buffalo wins a game for the first time all year where they give up more than 20 points
- Tyrod Taylor posted a 127.2 QBR, the fifth time he’s eclipsed 100, with his four total touchdowns
- DeAndre Hopkins set a Houston franchise record with his 10th touchdown reception of the year in this game
- Tyrod Taylor has thrown 187 straight passes without an interception, a Buffalo franchise record
- LeSean McCoy tied his season’s high with 112 yards rushing in this game (he’s hit that mark three times now)
- Brian Hoyer continues to look decent at QB, giving Houston a reason to believe that he could be the answer, at least for next season